Susan Rice is set to meet Sen. John McCain Tuesday in an effort to diffuse their bitter argument over the September 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
McCain has been leading Republican attacks against Rice, and has accused her of misleading the public over the September assault on the consulate.
“My concerns are obviously that she told the American people things that were patently false, that were not true,” McCain said.
The closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, arranged at Rice’s request, will take place at 9:30 am. Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte will also attend. CIA director Mike Morell will attend as well.
Leading Republicans have vowed to oppose Rice if she is nominated for the Secretary of State position after Hillary Clinton steps down.
McCain has softened his criticism in recent days.
When asked on Fox News if Rice could change his mind, McCain said, “Sure. She can. I’d give everyone the benefit of explaining their position and the actions that they took. I’d be glad to have the opportunity.”
Rice appeared to be largely absolved of blame from her appearances on Sunday morning TV shows following the attack when the office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that the terms “al-Qaeda” and “terrorism” had been removed from the talking points brief she was given.
President Obama quickly rushed to Rice’s defense and accused Republicans of an “outrageous” attempt to “besmirch her reputation.” He told them to go after him instead.
Rice defended herself last week and said, “Let me be very clear. I have great respect for Senator McCain and his service to our country. I always have, and I always will.”